These bills, if passed, will drive more death nails, but not just into the coffins of the supporting industries, but rather into the entire online community and economy. These are bad bills and must be stopped.
Fear Makes People do Terrible Things…
What does a child or an emotionally immature person do when faced with the loss of something? They act out of fear. The entertainment industry has been acting like a spoiled child for years, trying to stop the inevitable wave of change that technology has birthed. In the golden age of the recording and film industries they had it all: money, power, and prestige. Wanting to maintain their status quo, they’ve let fear instead of innovation drive their actions. Instead of embracing change (you can’t really stop it) these industries have slowly driven nail after nail into their own coffins. Now, they’ve used their power and influence to back two bills that have the potential to radically change the internet forever.
But Shouldn’t we Stop Piracy?
Yes. Piracy has always been with us. Before the internet people made illegal copies of albums by recording them to cassette tapes. Whatever technology existed people took advantage of it. However, with each step up the technology ladder, as piracy became easier, so did the distribution channels and connectivity between these industries and consumers. Imagine where we’d be if these industries had embraced these channels instead of acting out of fear?
I agree that piracy is bad and people who create web sites that distribute illegal copies of copyrighted material should be stopped. But not the way these bills propose to stop them. These bills require hosting companies to become police and give our government, and some private companies, the ability to take over the DNS system and easily shut down web sites.
Follow the Money…
Want to know what the real purpose is behind most legislation? Follow the money. Always follow the money. If you look at the companies and organizations supporting SOPA and Protect IP bills you’ll see big companies, unions, and organizations. These bills will make it harder and more expensive for individuals and small businesses to do business on the internet. All aspects of having an online presence will cost much, much more.
The Inverse Is Sometimes Better…
The problem that lawmakers have is that they think figures for commerce and revenue are static. For example, if reports show $1,000,000 online sales last month, lawmakers think that they can add fees and taxes and create x dollars of revenue for the government. They fail to understand that if they burden the system with fees and taxes that people will purchase less, so instead of $1,000,000, perhaps the figure will drop to $800,000. So their planned government revenue will be lower than expected… then they’ll want to increase taxes even more. And revenue will go down even more. The key is to reduce taxes and fees, even though it’s counter intuitive to most elected officials thinking, and revenue will go up.
The same goes for regulations. Some laws and regulations are necessary. But each additional law and regulation causes more and more of a burden on businesses, primarily small businesses, until they can’t survive. Only the large corporations and monopolies – who pushed the laws and regulations through – have the resources to comply.
Relevant Articles about SOPA and Protect IP:
Contact Your Elected Officials.
Did a boycott of GoDaddy changed their position on SOPA?.
And this from my friend Ryan Healy: Why SOPA and PIPA Must Be Stopped.
Some of the biggest web sites on the internet are considering a “nuclear option” to make more people aware of these bills: SOPA and Protect IP Nuclear Option!.
What can You Do?
Contact your elected officials and tell them you do not support these bills. I have and will continue to do so. It’s our responsibility as citizens to tell our elected officials what we want and don’t want put into law. If they don’t listen then we elect someone else. Contact Your Elected Officials
Protect Our Freedom…
As pointed out to me by a respected internet marketer I’d asked to contribute to this article, there are much larger threats to our freedom such as the National Defense Bill that allows the military to arrest people in the USA and hold them without a trial… pretty scary stuff. Unfortunately that one has already passed. What can you do about it? The answer is the same; constantly let your elected officials know you don’t want laws like this. It’s our responsibility to be involved with our government – don’t let freedom slip away.
Until Next Time,